Facing a rush of demand on the Island for at-home Covid-19 testing, Island Health Care has ordered 28,350 more rapid test kits as cases of the virus hit record numbers on Martha’s Vineyard.

An initial batch of 4,000 test kits, offered for free Tuesday at various places around the Island as part of a federal government program, were quickly snapped up, said Cynthia Mitchell, CEO of Island Health Care, which coordinated the distribution with the Island boards of health.

“I think it went well,” she told the Gazette on Thursday. “Most of the kits are gone, if not all of them.”

West Tisbury health agent Omar Johnson hands out test kits. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Another 10,800 test kits are expected to arrive next week, and 17,550 more a week later, Ms. Mitchell said. The kits include two test strips each. The kits will be divided up among the towns, and the public will be advised of distribution times and locations when they arrive.

The increased focus on testing comes as the Island faces an unprecedented surge of cases of Covid-19. In its weekly update Monday, the Island boards of health reported that 131 people had tested positive during the week ending Friday, Dec. 31. Over the next six days, another 321 people had tested positive, the boards of health confirmed, a rate of infection unequaled since the pandemic began.

Most of the cases appear to be the Omicron variant, which is more contagious, but generally less severe than previous variants. However, hospitalizations continue, with four people hospitalized with Covid-19 at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on Thursday, hospital spokesman Marisa Lefebvre said in an email.

Health officials continued to urge community members to get vaccinated as the best protection against serious disease.

Lining up outside of Chilmark town hall. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Ms. Lefebvfre said the hospital had administered nearly 700 booster doses of the Covid vaccine since Dec. 27, bringing the total of administered doses to 5,432. The hospital has also administered a total of 14,976 first and 15,073 second doses.

A special vaccination bus will return to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School on Sunday. Vaccination shots for ages 5 to 11 will take place from 9 a.m. to noon and shots for ages 12 and above will be from noon to 5 p.m. Booster shots will be available for ages 16 and older. All vaccines require preregistration at home.color.com.

Tuesday’s test kit rollout began at 9:30 a.m. and in some towns the test kits were gone in just a few hours.

Chilmark ran through its 136-kit supply by 10 a.m., Tisbury health agent Maura Valley said. The town sent 15 of its kits to Gosnold.

In West Tisbury they were gone by

In Oak Bluffs, test kits were distributed at temporary town hall space. — Ray Ewing

11:30 a.m. with lines forming at town hall before 9:30 a.m. West Tisbury health agent Omar Johnson said that by the time distribution was slated to start he had already given out three 45-count boxes of test kits — over a third of the town’s 398-kit allotment.

It was the same story in the down-Island towns. In Edgartown, the distribution took place on Atlantic avenue, near the Norton Point Beach entrance. At about 9:15 a.m. the first few cars began lining up and within about 30 minutes the trickle of cars turned into a steady stream, stretching back to the intersection of Atlantic Drive and Katama Road.

Unlike other Island towns, Edgartown mandated an advance sign-up. The town reserved 300 of its roughly 580 kits for the public. The other test kits were distributed to the fire and police departments as well as the council on aging, Edgartown health agent Matt Poole said.

By the end of the morning, Edgartown had distributed about 225 of its 300 reserved kits. Mr. Poole said about 25 people who had signed up notified the board of health that they couldn’t

make it. They will receive their kits another way, he said.

Oak Bluffs received 598 test kits which were given out at the temporary town hall offices. Ms. Valley said that supply was largely depleted by the end of the morning, adding that the distribution went smoothly in Tisbury as well, and test kits were depleted by noon.

Aquinnah’s allotment of 45 tests were given to the Wampanoag tribe.

The remainder of the 4,000 kits went to Island Health Care and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Ms. Lefebvre said its share of test kits would be given to hospital patients and staff.

Island Health Care spokesperson Mary Breslauer said those test kits would be given to IHC patients.